May 22, 2011

FCC: US Lags Behind Other Countries In Broadband

According to a report released by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Friday, the U.S. is lagging behind other countries in broadband adoption and download speeds.

The FCC said the U.S. is ranked ninth out of 29 countries for mobile broadband adoption on a per capita basis, and 12th out of 33 countries for percentage of households with fixed broadband connections.

The U.K., South Korea and Iceland were among some of the countries ahead of the U.S. in broadband adoption rate.

The FCC released its National Broadband Plan last year, which is a blueprint for expanding coverage and upgrading Internet speeds up to 25 times the current average.

The report said consumers in some large European Asian cities reported faster download speeds than consumers in comparable U.S. cities.

According to the FCC, the average download speed was found to be 11.7 Mbps in New York with a population of about 8.4 million, compared to 35.8 Mbps for the 10 million residents of Seoul, South Korea.

The report also detailed efforts made by the FCC, along with the State Department and Commerce Department, to work with OECD to make more reliable, standardized data available and less expensive to collect.

The FCC said a third of Americans with access do not subscribe to broadband, most likely due to high costs.

The agency said it relied on data from actual broadband deployment for the first time this year.  Past reports relied on estimates derived from broadband adoption.

Michael Power, president and chief executive of the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, said the FCC's conclusions in this report were regrettable and wrong.

"While the Commission's headline proclaims that 20 million Americans are denied access to broadband, by that measure private investment has fueled the build-out of broadband networks to nearly 300 million consumers and is responsible for the jobs that flow from that investment," Powell said in a statement.

Walter McCormick Jr, USTelecom's chief executive, used the agency's data to point out that 95 percent of Americans have access to fixed broadband, and 93 percent are happy with their service.

He said private sector investment in broadband grew by $3 billion from 2009 to 2010 to $66 billion.

"Clearly the private sector is doing its part -- broadband has been deployed to virtually every corner of America where a business case can be made for investment," McCormick said in a statement.


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